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Joe: Job more important than New Zealand


Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt

Coach Joe Schmidt is "dispassionate" when it comes to bringing down his native New Zealand.

"Yeah, I am an All Black fan. But, I am more passionate about my job," he said.

And what a job he has on his hands, to succeed where France failed four times, South Africa twice, Australia twice, Argentina twice and England once this calendar year.

"Your loyalties from a distance are superseded by loyalties very close to you," he said, in his third match in charge of Ireland.

What has made the All Blacks unbeatable this season? "I think that ability to play whatever style is required, you've got to be adaptable to conditions.

"Their ability to play on the hoof and transform situations where they're under pressure into sudden pressure points for the opposition is incredible.

"The amount of times you saw guys having the All Blacks under pressure and there's a lost ball and you're scrambling back to save a try in front of your own goal posts, where moments earlier you're putting pressure on them."

The decision of coach Steve Hansen to make seven changes illustrates the depth of talent at his disposal and the level of trust he places in them.

"You can't get them at a vulnerable moment because the vulnerable moments, selection-wise, just don't really exist," said Schmidt.

"You've got to force those vulnerable moments in the 80 minutes that you're on the field."

For all of Schmidt's triumphs as a coach, this would top even Clermont-Auvergne's French Championship in 2009 and Leinster's two Heineken Cups.

This is a final of a different dimension and colour. All Black.